Mountaineering Near Mount Temple.
Above The Snow Line.
Snow Dome, Ottertail Range.
Comparatively speaking, it was only yesterday that civilization and the Selkirks looked each other in the face ; but yesterday, too, that these "forbidden palaces" were first invaded, and their impressive, immemorial silence was broken by the voice of man. For countless centuries these sovereigns had stood in unapproachable majesty, their heads upreared toward heaven, their shoulders draped with royal ermine, their huge forms panoplied with icy cliffs, their hard hearts seamed with precious veins of gold and silver. At last, however, a score of years ago, a conqueror came, who, in the name of Science, summoned them to surrender. He sought and found the keys to their most closely guarded corridors. He warded off the avalanches, which they hurled at him, with oaken shields a mile in length. He made their torrents hewers of wood and drawers of water for his benefit. He threw his pygmy shadow on their limpid mirrors. He pierced the royal misers to the heart, and made them yield to him their gold. Laughing to scorn their sullen wrath, he even puffed in their white faces the smoke of his locomotives, dimming the brightness of their once unsullied sky. Finally, as the most conclusive proof of their subjugation, he fastened on their massive limbs great bands of steel, along which heavy-browed and fiery-hearted engines draw their priceless loads, ascending, curving, doubling on their tracks, crossing the rivers, first to one side, then to the other, and cutting in the cliffs long, glittering furrows deeper than any made there by the wheels of Time. How all this proves that, even in the presence of such scenes as these, man is not crushed to helplessness, but, on the contrary, is inspired to grand achievements! Where on this earth is there a more conspicuous illustration of indomitable will, and of man's victory over natural obstacles, than the ascent and passage of these mountain ranges by the train of sumptuous cars, linked in luxurious solidity, and known as the "Imperial Limited"? See it at night, especially, as it glides along (where even the Indian never found a trail), all jeweled with electric lamps, and bearing the bright torch of science through tremendous canons, whose awful gloom is rendered more terrific by the reverberations of the cliffs and the hoarse roaring of the struggling stream a thousand feet below. The line of steel that holds it to the sinuous ledge is a thread of fate, on which a hundred lives depend; but it holds firm, for man's intelligence here reigns supreme. We often feel our utter insignificance in presence of some overpowering revelation of the force of nature. This is true, physically. But, mentally, we are superior to the universe of matter; and, though the sun may one day draw our planet to its fearful fires, we shall at least be able to predict the hour of our doom.
Burrowing Through The Mountains.
A Closely Guarded Corridor.
Stony Creek Bridge.
Castle Point, Black Canon.
Columbia Valley And First Range Of The Selkirks.
No proper appreciation of the glaciers of the Selkirks can be gained by fleeting glimpses of them from the train, though half a dozen can be sometimes seen at once, creeping like bristling dragons down the mountain sides. Accordingly the railway company has wisely built, for the accommodation of travelers who wish to study them, a well-kept, comfortable hotel within a half hour's walk of one of the most famous of these frozen rivers. Our path to the Illecillewaet, as it is called, wound through a labyrinth of boulders, memorials of an age when the vast flood of ice extended farther down the valley than it does to-day. Among these sings and sparkles in the sun the newborn glacier streamlet, whose clear, translucent cradle we soon reached - a crystal cave, from which it sprang away, as if in joy to start upon its journey to the sea. Above us, stretched at a steep angle to the distant sky line a field of solid ice nine miles in length, and in the centre probably three or four thousand feet in depth. On its immaculate summit, every year, Nature deposits a new coverlet of snow, some forty feet in thickness. What one beholds here, therefore, represents the accumulations of unnumbered centuries, packed into a prodigious mass of clear, blue ice by cold and inconceivable pressure from above.